The lawsuit filed by family members of 26-year-old Ottawa County Jail inmate Terral Brooks Ellis II calls into question the jail staff's handling of Ellis' medical condition and needs ahead of his death in October 2015.
MIAMI – The death of a 26-year-old Ottawa County Jail inmate, Terral Brooks Ellis II in October 2015 has resulted in a lawsuit filed Friday in Tulsa Federal Court.
The lawsuit filed by Ellis' family in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma by attorney Dan Smolen is seeking an unspecified amount of actual, compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $75,000.
The lawsuit calls to question the Ottawa County Jail staff's handling of Ellis' medical condition and needs.
“I found out about the lawsuit through the news media,” Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd said.
Floyd was not the sheriff at the time Ellis was incarcerated and died in custody, but is reportedly named in the lawsuit as acting sheriff at this time.
As of press time, Floyd said he had not yet been officially served with or received copies of the lawsuit.
“I have looked over some of the information that I had, but you know, as far as a lawsuit we haven't actually been served yet, so I really can't say much on that, but the intent has been put out there that we are. I imagine in the next couple of days we will receive the paperwork on it," Floyd said. “I actually have a meeting with our District Attorney Kenny Wright, as well. At that time I will probably let him do a press release.”
Ellis was pronounced dead on Oct. 22, 2015 after being transported to the Integris Miami Hospital from the Ottawa County Jail an hour prior. The state Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Ellis died of sepsis and pneumonia.
Defendants named in the Ellis family lawsuit include the Ottawa County Commissioners, Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd in his official capacity, former Ottawa County Sheriff Terry Durborow, Theresa Horn, three jail employees, two ambulance workers and Baptist Healthcare of Oklahoma, which operated the ambulance service.
Ellis' incarceration was the result of a second and subsequent Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol charge.
Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.